Is Shirt Printing a Viable Side Job

In today's gig economy, finding a flexible and profitable side job is a priority for many. Shirt printing has emerged as a popular option, thanks to its relatively low start-up costs and the growing demand for custom apparel. But is it a viable side job for you? Let's explore the potential, benefits, and challenges of starting a shirt printing business.

The Appeal of Shirt Printing

The Appeal of Shirt Printing

Custom apparel is in high demand for various occasions, including corporate events, sports teams, family reunions, and personal fashion statements. This demand creates a lucrative market for those who can offer unique and high-quality printed shirts.


  • Creativity: Shirt printing allows you to express your creativity and bring unique designs to life.
  • Low Start-Up Costs: With various printing methods available, you can start small and scale up as your business grows.
  • Flexibility: You can operate your shirt printing business from home, allowing for flexible working hours.

Start-Up Requirements

To get started in shirt printing, you'll need some essential equipment and supplies. The level of investment depends on the printing method you choose.

Printing Methods:

  • Screen Printing: Ideal for large batches, it requires a screen printer, ink, and screens. It's cost-effective for bulk orders but involves a steeper learning curve.
  • Heat Transfer: Involves printing designs on transfer paper and using a heat press to apply them to shirts. It's easier to learn and perfect for small batches or intricate designs.
  • Direct-to-Garment (DTG) Printing: Uses specialized inkjet technology to print directly onto fabric. It's great for detailed designs and smaller quantities but requires a significant initial investment.

Additional Supplies:

  • Blank shirts in various sizes and colors.
  • Design software for creating and editing graphics.
  • Packaging materials for shipping.

Marketing Your Business

Marketing Your Business

To make your shirt printing business successful, effective marketing is crucial. Utilize various strategies to reach your target audience.


  1. Social Media: Platforms like Instagram, Facebook, and Pinterest are perfect for showcasing your designs and connecting with potential customers.
  2. E-commerce Platforms: Set up an online store on platforms like Etsy, Shopify, or your own website to sell your products.
  3. Local Markets: Participate in local fairs, markets, and events to gain exposure and build a local customer base.
  4. Collaborations: Partner with local businesses, schools, or organizations to provide custom apparel for their needs.

Challenges to Consider

While shirt printing offers many benefits, it's important to be aware of the potential challenges you might face.

Common Challenges:

  • Learning Curve: Mastering the printing techniques can take time and practice.
  • Quality Control: Ensuring consistent quality across all your products is crucial for maintaining customer satisfaction.
  • Time Management: Balancing a side job with other responsibilities requires effective time management skills.

Tips for Success

To maximize your chances of success, consider the following tips:

  • Start Small: Begin with a manageable number of orders to refine your skills and processes.
  • Focus on Quality: High-quality products and customer service will help build a loyal customer base.
  • Stay Updated: Keep up with industry trends and continuously improve your techniques and equipment.
  • Seek Feedback: Regularly ask for customer feedback and use it to make improvements.


At VS Tees, we believe that shirt printing can be a viable and rewarding side job if approached with the right mindset and preparation. It offers a creative outlet, potential for significant income, and the flexibility to work on your own terms. By understanding the start-up requirements, marketing effectively, and addressing potential challenges, you can turn your shirt printing hobby into a successful side business. Happy printing!